What is Falstaff's role in Henry IV, Part 1?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

His role is essential, and for audiences, almost central. It is also multi-faceted. Most simply, he is an example of a common comic character type from the period, and so he is meant to be funny.

However, to young Prince Hal, he is a substitute father figure, and one who...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

His role is essential, and for audiences, almost central. It is also multi-faceted. Most simply, he is an example of a common comic character type from the period, and so he is meant to be funny.

However, to young Prince Hal, he is a substitute father figure, and one who offers acceptance without the heavy hand of expectations his real father raised.

Falstaff is also a kind of worldly education; through him Hal learns about common people, and about the darknesses and complexities of the human spirit. In this odd way, Falstaff allows Hal to become a great king.

Greg

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team